Beginning this weekend, April 3rd and lasting through April 25th, Hancock Shaker Village is showcasing its new calves, piglets, lambs and chicks in their Round Stone Barn. Also this month you will see their heirloom gardens come to life.
The Village is open daily from 10 until 4. Beyond the obvious attraction of being able to hold and help feed the newborns, enjoy Hancock Shaker Village for what it is, a living anachronism. This working, historic landmark demonstrates why the Shakers occupy an important place in American history. They developed many of the innovative farming and construction techniques still used today.
For more information about their 8th Annual Barnyard Birthday Party, or about the Village in general, CLICK HERE.
Hampton Terrace Bed and Breakfast is located in Lenox, about a twenty minute drive from Hancock Shaker Village. While staying here, also visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, Ventfort Hall, and the Clark Art Institute.
We have hosted a lot of people at Hampton Terrace. I know exactly the number, but it is hard to wrap my mind around a figure so large. The good news is we can only handle about 28 at a time, and most stay for more than a night. And they hang around the common room fireplaces, our private bar, or at breakfast. I attempt to get to know our guests personally…..way beyond a superficial introduction, because I always take the attitude that every guest potentially could begin to treat Hampton Terrace as a home-away-from-home…and many do.
One who did is Mick Quinn. Easy to know, and sporting a think Irish brogue, Mick’s latest book, "The Uncommon Path" has become the #1 seller on Amazon.com, in the category of consciousness and thought. Mick does not preach religion, let’s make it clear, his message is one of self fulfillment and personal growth. I just spent a lot of time clicking around his website, and I have to tell you, I am planning to order this book. It received a 5 out ot 5 rating from Amazon readers, and earned press incredibly elusive for books serving this niche: features in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, and hundreds of similar articles, radio and television exposures. Not your average tome spending its life in the spiritual rack at Barnes & Noble.
Mick came back on my radar just this morning when he posted an entry on my Hampton Terrace Facebook wall. Just asking how things were going. Said he saw a recent blog of mine, floating out there somewhere, and wanted to say hi. It is not like we are out of touch. I get his e-mail newsletters and he gets mine. He always presses "reply" to see how we are doing.
Mick spent several weeks here at one point while writing one of this books. He had already been here several times…but out of the blue he contacted me and asked if he could camp in one of our rooms in the back for a period of time to work without distraction. Of course, I agreed. Since then, each message from Mick has been from a different locale….New Jersey, Portugal, Spain, Utah…. He married a girl from Spain.
Living in the Berkshires, and knowing many of the people who are associated with Kripalu, I am not unfamiliar with spiritual people or their messages (which are personal, therefore always diverse). Mick’s message comes from a different background, probably explaining why it is resonating with so many people. Highly educated (a degree from Columbia), Mick founded two successful technology companies in the 1990s…the kind of companies who are sold to larger enterprises for their intellectual property. So unlike many people who are seeking a personal identity through spiritual self evaluation, Mick’s identity was quite defined, as was his lifestyle. But he felt deeply that there should be more to existence than that which he had found. So gleaning from his reviews, it seems his approach is practical and results-oriented, and his writing style concise. If the book is as efficient and navigable as his website, it seems clear that Mick wants to make sure that the reader is not wasting valuable time.
I met Mick ten years ago, right at the point when he was transitioning away from daily office duties Fortunate timing, because his company was located on the 79th floor of the World Trade Center.. We also were in a transition. My former employer had just left the Berkshires, and I was looking for a reason to stay in the area. One of my former co-workers had something in the works, which attracted both Mick and me. Ultimately, that project did not materialize, but a friendship with Mick did. He was a witness to our early progress here at Hampton Terrace, and even sent his brother here for a series of stays.
So I chose to write about my friend Mick Quinn, not to laud his success as an author or life teacher, but to offer a toast to his future success. Good work, Mick. I am looking forward to seeing you again.
If it is nice place to visit, isn’t it also a nice place to live? Not necessarily, as I love to visit Orlando, but I would never consider it a place to call home.
Lenox, and by extension, the Berkshires, has again been singled out for its quality of life. By extension, I mean that without the amenities, attractions and assets offered up by our neighbors….including Stockbridge, Lee, Great Barrington, Pittsfield and other contiguous communities, there is no way that Lenox could be ranked in a survey such as this. National Geographic Traveler just rated our area the #7 destination in the world…and now AOL’s consumer and personal finance website, "WalletPop," has singled out Lenox as a top 20 dream home for retirees.
The town received plaudits for its culture, solitude and natural surroundings. In addition to the obvious accollades involving "Currier & Ives lovely" and Tanglewood…the website goes on to say, "Sophisticated, funky and quiet, Lenox is a special place."
With every point in the village less than a two block walk from our front door, we concur. We have always marveled at, and always been very profoundly appreciative of what we have here. That is partly what makes us succesfull innkeepers. Although we have been in Lenox for almost 15 years, we still are "tourists in our own home town." Trip Advisor feedback reminds us often that our guests recognize and appreciate our enthusiasm for things down our sidewalk.
But back to living here. In partnership with the website, "NeighborhoodScout.com," the AOL site considered factors such as housing options, surroundings, a vibrant mix of educated seniors and other age groups, very low crime, peace and quiet, and choice of amenities of every taste.
Once again, I DO believe you have to consider the greater Lenox area for all of these…..and if they did not…..and had……Lenox might have been #1 instead of just a Top 20! That would be an interesting thing to know.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before moving here…visit. And while visiting, check out Hampton Terrace. It is already part of our routine to help you plan your visit intelligently to maximize your experience. And like many of our guests, you will probably come back to see some of what you missed. And then again.
We are very proud to be hosting a group of travel writers from England this weekend, representing Sky Travel UK, Prima, and the UK representative of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.
The group will also be touring the Berkshires for three days, including visits to Cranwell, Tanglewood, Stockbridge, The Norman Rockwell Museum, The Red Lion Inn, Prime Outlets, Firefly Restaurant, Ventfort Hall Museum, Williamstown, The Clark Art Institute, North Adams and MassMoCa. The tour is being coordinated by the Berkshire Visitors Bureau.
Press visits to Hampton Terrace have resulted in very positive exposure, including articles in USAToday, The WAG, BedandBreakfast.com and regional newspapers.
We have so many interesting guests here at Hampton Terrace that it occurred to me that it might be fun to share some stories here in my blog. Of course, everyone is special in his or her own way…..but let’s limit this to those you might want to read about.
Several weeks ago Debra and Fred Zeller stayed over a weekend. My background includes music promotion and the subject of music came up at breakfast.. It turns out that Fred has been a sound engineer at NBC, 30 Rock, for almost 30 years….about 10 as the sound engineer for Conan, and the last year doing the same for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Over the years he has met and worked with virtually every celebrity and musical guest on the planet. We talked about Macon, GA, my hometown, and the Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, etc. I produced an Allman Brothers reunion in 1986 which turned out to be pivotal in reuniting the band after a 10-year break.
I get an e-mail a week later from Fred saying that The Allman Brothers were playing the Fallon Show on March 9th and he would hold tickets for me. So Susan, my sister-in-law, my daughter and I went to New York to spend the day with Fred. Fred got me in about 11 am for equipment set-up and sound check. I was able to spend a couple of hours backstage and reconnect with some of the Allmans: Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, the drummers. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes, guitarists. Fred was old friends with some of their tech guys so we spent considerable time listening to road stories. It was great. I watched the band do a couple of noon run-throughs….and even though the technical crew at the Fallon Show had seen just about every act there is….they applauded the sound check. This band has remained vibrant, fresh and tight, in spite of a 40-year career. Their line-up changes have been careful and deliberate.
While Susan, Lynn and Lauren sat in the live studio audience, I got to sit in the sound production room with Fred. The layout is not too much different than the cockpit of the space shuttle. This guy is the ultimate multi-tasker. His hands fly all over the board, flipping switches, pushing slides, punching buttons. His chair rolls around his work space methodically as he moves from panel to panel. I am hearing the director cueing cameras, sound augments, props. Although I had seen an earlier run-through for the show (with a Fallon stand-in), it turns out the live production is pretty much like Saturday Night Live….theater on the fly. They know that a really bad screw-up can be edited out before the evening show, but much is left in. A spontaneous-looking performance is the goal.
And screw up this show did. A national headlines-type screw up. Jimmy had challenged guest Chelsea Handler to a martini making contest. The goal was to make 3 martinis, grab them and race around the audience, return to the stage and dump them in a container to see who could spill the least over the contest. Chelsea got back first, but the mess they both made had soaked the stage. As Jimmy was running back to the table his feet went straight up the in the air and he crashed on his back, breaking all three glasses. When he got up, he was bleeding profusely from his hands. It turned out not to be serious…. but it was terribly funny because with his Saturday Night Live experience, Jimmy was not stymied by the moment…and Chelsea Handler was so quick that she had two great one-liners within seconds. The perfect guest for the moment.
I had the extra thrill of hearing and seeing the way the production booth handled the mishap. Close-ups. Slow motions. A running gag for the rest of the show. The injury turned out to be just minor cuts and Jimmy had the hand wrapped for the rest of the show. It was not wrapped the next night.
The Allmans, meanwhile, were fabulous. I cannot thank Fred Zeller enough for giving us this unforgettable experience at 30 Rock. Owning an inn has many types of rewards.
If you think this is the only guest story I’ve got….just wait.
Iconic dance festival, Jacob’s Pillow, in its 78th Season, announced it 2010 schedule recently and tickets are on sale today, March 1.
Beginning June 23rd, the line-up includes Nina Ananiashvili, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Le Ballets de Montreal, Camile A. Brown, Barak Marshall’s "Monger," Shantala Shivalingappa, Armitage Gone!, Pichet Klunchun, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Jacoby and Pronk, CND2, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, Trey McIntyre, Yin Mei, Les Ballets Trockadero, Kyle Abraham, The Goteborg Ballet, Lucy Guerin, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Vanaver Caravan. For information or tickets, CLICK HERE.
An insider’s tip. Enjoy Jacob’s Pillow performances mid-week and save up to 30% at Hampton Terrace in Lenox. CLICK HERE to learn about our mid-week discounts.
Every year we schedule major upgrades at Hampton Terrace, and this year involves all new flooring in our Wynnstay Cottage. Our Living Room area (shown) now has a durable hardwood-style planking with area rugs to aid areas that have always had too much traffic for carpet.
And the guest rooms, as of yesterday, are newly carpeted with some bold new color changes. All-in-all, a hugely positive experience for us…a chance to rebuild all of the beds to make sure they are solid, clean behind and under furniture which has not been moved in a while… We get a lot of repeat visitation in our Wynnstay Cottage (6 guest rooms, all with gas fireplaces and Jacuzzis) and I cannot wait to hear the reactions.
Before Marti Mayne of BedandBreakfast.com visited Hampton Terrace a couple of years ago on a tour of Berkshire inns, she checked out our website. I had always been told that we had a good website, but deep down I was not so sure.
After her stay, she volunteered that our inn photography undersold our inn, and that we should give serious thought to an upgrade. She put me in touch with Mark and Matthew of Jumping Rocks Photography and the rest, as they say, is history. In November 2008, they spent a couple of days shooting all of our guest rooms, and by January 2009, Kathy Barto and I had created a whole new website to showcase our pictures. The impact was immediate and profound.
Our 2009 occupancy was 25% higher than 2008, in spite of the economy. Most impressively, our off-season occupancy (all months except July, August and October) was up 60%! The power of good images.
This increase got us noticed by USAToday as well.
So next month in Austin, Texas, when PAII holds their annual convention, Jumping Rocks has asked permission to use Hampton Terrace as an example of the impact of good photography on a website. Could not be more pleased to help out the guys who so profoundly helped us.
Hampton Terrace is one of the "Berkshire Cottages." In general terms, around the turn of the century, if someone built a home to participate in the Lenox/Stockbridge late summer social register scene, their home was a "Berkshire Cottage." Some, however, are great estates, and Ventfort Hall is one of the best.
Built by J. P.Morgan’s sister, Sarah, and her husband, George (his cousin), Ventfort Hall is such a good example of the genre that it has become "The Museum of the Gilded Age." Ten years ago, it was slated to be torn down.
Thanks to some very strong supporters, especially Tjasa Sprague, who is still intimately involved, Ventfort Hall has not only been saved but predominantly restored. There is much to do, but the exterior, the main downstairs rooms, and several of the upstairs rooms are now completely restored and open for tour. More importantly, the facility hosts numerous events and productions throughout the year, adding significantly to the Lenox scene.
Hampton Terrace is very fortunate to be located just several hundred yards from Ventfort Hall and we gratefully share our Gilded Age heritage. It is not possible to stay at Ventfort Hall, but Hampton Terrace has been a well-known inn since 1937. We invite you to combine a stay at Hampton Terrace Bed and Breakast inn, visit Ventfort Hall either for a tour or an event, and then stroll into Lenox, a 2-square block village that embraces its Gilded Age past.
Seeking a December escape to a historic inn? Looking for extensive holiday decorations to get you in the December mood? Look no further than Hampton Terrace in Lenox, MA where Susan, the owner, fills the public spaces with over 30 years of holiday collections. No neon Santas. Hampton Terrace is an 1897 mansion, built to be part of Lenox’s Gilded Age social season, and the decorations are traditional, gilded and elegant.
Rooms are stil available for every December weekend (we are closed the weekend of the 25th & 26th) at our off-season rates. $189 for any room in the Main House and Wynnstay Cottage. $249 for the king suites. All include a $30 gift certificate to Nejaimes, the local wine/gourmet food shop and full breakfast by candlelight. Early check-in and late check-out is fine, subject to availability. 30% off a third night. Rated #1 on Trip Advisor in Lenox.
There will be plenty of activities in the Berkshires, including holiday festivals, Main Street Christmas in Stockbridge, "A Christmas Carol" at Berkshire Theatre Festival, and more. Hampton Terrace features fireplaces in most rooms and authentic atmosphere throughout. Call 800-203-0656 for details.